Potential, potential, potential…..

What could be better to prepare for the zombie apocalypse than to have a Fusion repeater in the area where I live? Hmmmmmmmm. That sound you hear are the gears turning in my head!

So, there is a 200 foot tower where I work. Knowing the right people, and knowing the correct order in which to inquire, I eventually got permission to put a repeater antenna at the 100 foot level.  Given the base of the antenna is at 900 feet above sea level (ASL), this would give a pretty impressive footprint into southeast Michigan! Now, all I had to do was apply for a coordinated repeater pair from the Michigan Repeater Council (no mean feat!).

Fortunately (VERY fortunately), I made the on-air acquaintance of one N8ZCC. Bob is an old-hand at repeaters, having gotten several on the air throughout his Amateur career. Bob did all the computer modeling and began preparing the application to the Michigan Repeater Council. As well has everything has turned out as of the date of this posting, I can safely say none of this would have happened but for his efforts and expertise.

Michigan is jam-packed with paper repeaters. Some have been on the air, then vanished. Some never shot even one electron into free space. The chances of getting a 2-meter pair were just not in the cards. However, there was some hope for 440. The revolution of digital voice in Amateur Radio, I think, fueled the council’s de-coordination efforts as interest in DMR and Fusion brought a deluge of frequency requests, I’m sure. Within several weeks, I received a green light from the repeater council, placing me on 443.825 MHz!

Also in the mix throughout the process, I met some other great people who were willing to help with getting the repeater on the air. One of them was Rick, WC8D. He, too, is a wealth of knowledge and is loaded with test equipment most of us will never have. Rick very generously donated a duplexer and evaluated the Stationmaster repeater antenna I purchased at Dayton (for the staggering sum of $20).

I contacted Yaesu and applied for the DR1-X program through which I could purchase a Fusion repeater for the ridiculously low price of $600.  I think this was a brilliant move on Yaesu’s part, one that definitely would have helped ICOM push D-Star.  Within a few weeks, a large white FedEx truck dropped off a big cardboard box from Yaesu!



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